The Four Loves: CS Lewis Books

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Love can be divided into four different distinct types

Adapted from C.S.Lewis ‘book The Four Loves’.
In ‘what is love’, we made the distinction between Divine or gift-love (so called because it demands nothing in return and is closest to love himself) and the ‘natural’ or need-loves (so called because they are earthly human loves – born of a need to be loved). We can divide the need loves into, affection, friendship, Eros, and add them to charity (divine love) – making our four loves!

The Four Loves

  • affection (natural love1) – affection for things and people
  • friendship (natural love2) – brotherly love
  • Eros (natural love3) – the love of love
  • charity (Divine love) – the love of giving

Love 1) Affection
This is an amazing form of love. It’s quiet and comfortable. It’s not proud. You can be affectionate towards someone who ordinarily you’d dislike! “That old so and so”. Affection also can exist on its own, apart from the other loves. Like affection for a favourite jacket or a familiar sound or smell. When affection enters the other loves, the whole experience is more colourful – the difference between a friend and an old friend! It is quite difficult to build any of the other loves without some sort of affection fisrt. Affection teaches us first to notice, endure, and appreciate ordinary people. (Of course there’s no such thing as an ordinary person) Affection allows an appreciation of things we never thought possible, and creates a platform for the other loves. It unites the un-unitable!

“Dogs and cats should be brought up together, it broadens their minds!”

love 2) Friendship
To the ancients, friendship was the happiest and fully human of loves! In comparison the modern world ignores it – ” a man needs few friends” It’s a side order – not a main course in life’s banquette! Few value it as few really experience it. Friendship is a love we can live without and is often discouraged among the subjects of leaders and who fear revolt. Lovers talk about their love but friends rarely talk about friendship. Lovers are face to face but friends point in the same direction with common interests. One person can’t bring out all another’s facets. We need others to do this. We need to share our friends to possess them more fully. Friendship is the least jealous of the loves – two friends delight in being joined by a third!
To have friends you have to want something more than friends (i.e a common ground).
Friendship between sexes. When two people of the opposite sex discover they are on the same road, friendship may pass quickly into erotic love! – joint seekers of the same beauty – same God!
What’s the value of friendship? Interestingly we can do without friendship unlike eros and affection which are necessary for survival!
(non of us would be born without Eros or raised without affection!) But friendship like art or the universe itself are free gifts and give life a real value! Most often the two sexes meet in Eros and affection but less often in friendship. Accordingly most friendships are between men/men and women/women. But watch out – what is sometimes offered in friendship can be mistaken for Eros!

love 3) Eros – being in love!
Eros starts with a delightful general preoccupation with the beloved in totality. Someone in this state is not thinking sex – however there’s more than likely an underlying sexual attraction! Eros creates a mysterious desire for one particular women – as opposed to Venus – the sexual element within Eros, that just wants the sensual (sexuality can operate with or without Eros). Eros invades and reorganises the institutions of ones personality one by one, obliterating the distinction between giving and receiving – both are a pleasure! All this happens before the sexual element is reached! Eros alone is not enough for a relationship to survive. Commitment and discipline is also needed. Most of our ancestors were married off early because society knew that marriage didn’t depend on Eros- ‘falling in love’ – they did right! Many people think that the carnal element within Eros is best kept to a minimum to preserve the purity of a relationship. St Paul however is more concerned about marriage itself being a distraction from God (need to be constantly pleasing and pleased) rather than the marriage bed. With regards to sex within marriage all he says is ‘avoid prolonged abstinence from it’! Did you know? when Jackdaws are amorous their calls consist mainly of infantile sounds. Humans adults exhibit the same behavior and like the jackdaw it’s reserved for only these occasions – also known as baby talk!

love 4) charity
Charity is the love that wants nothing in return (given freely) and its primal source is God. Paradoxically we are allowed to share in this divine love and give to the God that already has everything by withholding or giving ourselves to him. The natural loves, affection, friendship and Eros, left to themselves eventually go bad on us and need Charity in order to stay sweet. Like a garden they spring up from the ground (notice it has to be fertile first!) bringing forth beauty but must come under God’s authority or they become unmanageable! Keep the ground fertile by looking after yourself in all areas -spiritually, mentally and physically. You’ll then be in good shape to give and your relationships will be stronger. A good test of character is how you respond to Charity. If you can take it sweetly you’re probably stronger than you think as receiving can be harder than giving!

What the Bible says about friendship – an important love

Real friendship involves loyalty, Proverbs 17:17, TAB.
“A true friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.”

The best friend to have is Jesus, John 15:15, IV.
“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from My Father I have made known to you.”

Choose friends who have pure hearts, II Timothy 2:22, TAB.
“Run from anything that gives you the evil thoughts that young men often have, but stay close to anything that makes you want to do right. Have faith and love, and enjoy the companionship of those who love the Lord and have pure hearts.”

What characteristics make you a good friend? Philippians 2:3-4, TLB.
“Don’t be selfish; don’t live to make a good impression on others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourself. Don’t just think about your own affairs, but be interested in others, too, and in what they are doing.”

Gossip can destroy friendships, Proverbs 16:28, NIV.
“A gossip separates close friends”

Friends are worth keeping, Proverbs 27:9-10, TLB.
“Never abandon a friend – either yours or your father’s. Then you won’t need to go to a distant relative for help in your time of need.”

A friend is honest with you even if it hurts. Proverbs 27:6, TLB.
“Wounds from a friend are better than kisses from an enemy!”

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